Future of USB: Type-C

Nowadays, it’s basically impossible to go through your day without getting in contact with a USB connector. Termed “Universal Serial Bus”, many confuse the name as a thumb drive, due to the popular-ity of the flash memory usage.

Of course, USB is actually referring to the connector itself, but did you know that there are many different types of USB con-nectors?

Recently, Apple launched their newest Macbook, aimed to revolutionize the note-book industry again, but it comes with only one port, a USB port, Type-C to be exact.

So, what are some of the other USB types?

Type-A USB is the most popular connect-or, in fact, 3 billions USB-A ports are ship-ped every year. Since its launch in 1996, the rectangular connector haven’t changed much on the exterior, but speed-wise, its jumped from USB 1.1’s 12Mbps to USB 2.0 at 480Mbps, USB 3.0 at 5Gbps and now USB 3.1 at a whopping 10Gbps.

Like most plugs, the protruded end is called the USB-male plug, and the other end is obviously the USB-female port.

Type-B USB is the other end of a standard USB cable connecting a peripheral device, meaning both-ends have male plugs. The Standard-B is the most original plug, with a shape of a house, usually still being used larger devices like printers or scanners. Other type-B connectors include the Mini-USB, which usually connects to digital cameras or portable hard-drives.

The latest type-B is of course the Micro-USB connector we use for our smartphones and tablets. Since type-B connectors are usually connect to a computer, the transmission speed also follows the standard of 1.1, 2.0, 3.0, with the 3.0 versions usually come with a blue cable at both ends.

So what about Type-C USB? It’s basically the same size (8.4 x 2.6mm) as a Micro-USB, except in an oval-shape so it can be plugged in upside-down as well. Same with all other USB connectors, type-C comes in male and female ends. So there are USB-A to USB-C connecting cables, USB-C to USB-A Female ports, USB-C to USB-B cables, USB-C hubs...etc in the market soon.

But why another standard, you ask? Type-C is not only much smaller in size, reversible plug orientation, supporting 3.1 speed at 10Gbps, it also support higher power output at 100W and 5A. With the general power charging requirements for a 15” notebook at about 60W, type-C can replace the power connection as well, which is exactly what Apple is doing with their new Macbook.

(Photo Credits: TechStage)

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